ABTA Holiday Habits: more Brits are going on holiday but spending less

ABTA released its ninth annual Holiday Habits survey at The Travel Convention, which is being held this week in Tokyo.

The survey of 2,043 people was taken in July and respondents were asked about the holidays they had taken over the past 12 months as well as planned trips. The overwhelming trend was for Brits to take more holidays but on a tighter budget with 88% of people taking a holiday, the highest figure since 2011. However, good value is seen as paramount with people spending an average of £98 less on short overseas breaks compared to 2017 and £94 less on longer overseas holidays.

Nearly one in five (19%) are booking holidays later, rising to 32% among young families and at both ends of the spectrum, people are either booking very early or very late in an attempt to get the best value for money. Package holidays are proving popular with 51% taking at least one package holiday in the past year, again with value for money cited as a reason. All-inclusive holidays are up to 18%, compared to 15% in 2018.

For the year ahead, travel is still a priority with 27% planning to spend more on their holiday and 70% planning a trip abroad in the next 12 months. Europe remains the most popular region with 57% planning a trip across the Channel and 56% planning a UK break, an upswing in staycations after a dip in 2018.

In terms of popular destinations, among the European countries, Spain (38%), France (23%), Italy (17%) and Germany (15%) are the top continental choices. Greece comes in at 13% and Portugal at 11%. The rise in trips to Germany is attributed largely to diverse city breaks in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Cologne, as well as experience-led and river cruise holidays rising in popularity.

Turkey, Tunisia, Bulgaria and Egypt are all up from last year, particularly with the threat of terrorism perceived to be lower in the North African destinations than in previous years.

Long haul travel is continuing to increase in popularity with 25% visiting Asia, up 10% from last year, a 4% increase in trips to North America and a 14% increase in Caribbean holidays.

Looking ahead to the next 12 months, 70% of holidaymakers are seeking to travel abroad with 28% planning a trip to Spain, 19% to the USA and 16% to France.

Luxury travel is gaining in popularity but customers are becoming more demanding, expecting affordable prices. Four-star accommodation is proving to be the most popular with 55% having stayed in these hotels in the past year, while 20% have opted for five-star accommodation. Almost one in five (18%) have booked a personalised package holiday. Premium economy and higher classes of flights are popular at 37% and there are upselling opportunities for agents with people prepared to book "little luxuries", such as luggage delivery drop-offs, chauffeur-driven transfers and premium airport lounges.

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